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Influential Christian Works: The Virgin Birth of Christ by J. Gresham Machen


In 1930, intending to defend the doctrine of the virgin birth, J. Gresham Machen published a book called The Virgin Birth of Christ. In his work, Machen used his understanding of exegesis, theology, textual criticism, and history to defend the fundamental doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus.

While this is a scholarly work, it should not frighten Christians from reading it since the purpose of his defense could not be more practical for all believers. Traditionally, the Christian church has always confessed and taught the vitality of the virgin birth of Jesus. But sadly many people claim that the virgin birth is not fundamental to true orthodox Christian teaching and belief. If the church rejects the virgin birth, the consequences are enormous and treacherous. While there are many reasons why rejecting the virgin birth is venomous and insidious to the believer’s soul and theology, I want to bring to our attention two reasons why it is destructive.

First, what type of worldview do you have when you read the Scriptures? Is it a worldview shaped by naturalism or secularism? Is it a worldview shaped by other religions and philosophies? Or is it a worldview that has been shaped by the redemptive blood of the supernatural savior - Jesus Christ?

Many people who claim that the virgin birth of Christ is not possible is because they do not have a supernatural Christian worldview. They do not understand the redemptive power of God and this affects the way they read Scripture. If people claim that it is acceptable to reject this divine miracle and work of God - the virgin birth of Jesus Christ - because it is not scientifically possible, then what is stopping them from saying that Jesus never healed the sick, walked on water, turned water into wine, and rose from the dead? If the virgin birth is cast aside as unscientific, how can Christians uphold the other miracles of Christ? It is impossible and this interpretive inconsistency is deleterious to understanding who God is. Christians do not have the option of picking and choosing what doctrines to believe or not believe about who God is and what He has done in history. The virgin birth of Jesus is one of those fundamental doctrines that reveal to mankind who God is and His amazing power to perform the impossible. 

Second, do you trust in the authority of Scripture? The Scriptures in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are so prominently clear on the virgin birth that there is no excuse to reject the doctrine. Even in the Old Testament, the virgin birth was undoubtedly prophesied by Isaiah (Is. 7:14). Therefore, to go against the clear teachings of Scripture on a fundamental doctrine is to repudiate the authority, inspiration, inerrancy/infallibility, and perspicuity of Scripture.

As Christmas is right around the corner, let us remember the theology of the virgin birth and its importance in understanding how marvelous our God is. Let us revel this Christmas because of the Second Adam’s victorious birth to save humanity from its sin and decay.


Daniel Schoof

1 Comment

Wonderful reminder. Thank you Daniel.

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