This summer at Redeemer Fellowship I'm preaching thematically through The Apostles' Creed in a series called "I Believe." Each Sunday we focus on a particular doctrine taught in the creed and a corresponding passage of Scripture. This coming sunday we're covering the virgin birth. "Jesus Christ... Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary." Here in the 21st century this beautiful doctrine continues to get discussed among both Christians and unbelievers, and not just around the holidays. Does the virgin birth really matter? I appreciate the words of J. Oswald Sanders on the subject who wrote,
It is conceded that the Bible does not demand belief in the virgin birth as a prerequisite for salvation, but it does indicate that the fact of the virgin birth must be true if we are to be saved. It is possible for a man to be saved without knowing details in the process, just as babies are born without any knowledge of embryology. It is the integrity of the fact, not our knowledge of it, that lays the basis for our salvation.
At the close of one of his services, the late Harry Emerson Fosdick said, "I want to assure you that I do not believe in the virgin birth of Christ, and I hope none of you do." He was doubtless sincere, but can such an attitude be justified? It is the element of miracle that proves a stumbling block to such men. But if Joseph and Mary, who were sinners by nature and deed, could have given birth to a sinless Man like Jesus, would not an even greater miracle be involved?
Let us consider the alternatives that face us if this doctrine is fiction and not fact.
1. The New Testament narratives are proved false and the Book is robbed of its authority on other matters also.
2. Mary, instead of being blessed among women, is branded as unchaste, for Joseph asserted that Jesus was not his son.
3. Jesus becomes the natural child of sinful parents, which at once rules out his preexistence, with the result that there was no real incarnation.
4. We are deprived of any adequete explanation of His unique chatacter and sinless life.
5. If He was begotten of a human father--and that is the only alternative to virgin birth--he was not the second Person of the Trinity as He claimed, and therefore had no power to forgive sin.
6. If this miracle is denied, where do we stop? Logically we should deny all miracles. The questions really is, Are we willing to accept the supernaturalistic claims of Scripture or not?