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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Green’


aka, the Virgin Birth.

It is listed as one of the 5 fundamental beliefs during the fundamentalist-modernist controversy of the early 20th century.  Is it a fundamental belief?  It is necessary for Jesus to be conceived in this way if he is to be fully divine?

There are a surprising number of people who are saying it isn’t necessary.

Emergent (revisionist) pastor Rob Bell, in his book Velvet Elvis, stated that while he personally affirmed the virgin birth, it was not a necessary belief.  You don’t need the ‘spring’ of the virgin birth to ‘jump’ (cue the Van Halen please), so he says.  He includes some shoddy exegesis and historical context to make his point about why you might think Matthew doesn’t mean what we thought he meant.  Got that?

Easy for me to disregard Rob Bell; he doesn’t have conservative street cred.  But Michael Green, another story.  He wrote the commentary on Matthew in the Bible Speaks Today series edited by John Stott.  I’m reading this for my sermon series from Matthew this Advent.

Green covers the standard arguments against the virginal conception, and counters them pretty well.  Like Bell, he personally holds to the virginal conception.  But he didn’t stop there, and I was a bit shocked.

“However, it is only proper to say that there is nothing necessary about the virgin birth.  The deity of Christ is not inextricably tied to it.  God might well have entered  this world in the normal manner, or chosen some unprecedented way of becoming one of us.  He need not have come through a virginal conception.  The documents, however, assert that he did.”

This precisely where a good biblical and systematic theology save you from a mass of heresy.  Adoptionism (the view that God adopted the human Jesus to be his divine son) would be a denial of the Trinity.  Any other method would presumably include Joseph or other male.  If an ordinary man is involved, Jesus is born “in Adam”.  All who born of 2 human parents are born under the covenant with Adam (Romans 5) and are therefore subject to sin and death.  Jesus, in order to save other, must be free from sin and death.  He must not be “in Adam” as his covenant head.  He becomes the 2nd Adam, the head of a new covenant so that all who are in him by faith are delivered from sin on account of his obedience, death for sin and resurrection on our behalf.

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