Saturday, November 25, 2006
J.G. Machen and the Virgin Birth
One of the most brilliant conservative scholars of the early 20th century had to be J.G. Machen. This was a guy who knew his primary sources and was thoroughly conversant with the leading scholarship of his day, and yet, remained steadfast in his Christian conviction. Baird is less than generous when he says that with the death of Warfield [I think] that "a double portion of the polemical spirit fell upon Machen" [or words to that effect]. Read the wikipedia article about Machen. See/Listen to John Piper's account of Machen and Modernity at Desiring God Ministries
I'm currently writing an article about the "Birth of Christ" for the Encyclopedia of the Historical Jesus and was reading over Machen's book, The Virgin Birth of Christ. A couple of quotes stand out:
"[A] Christianity dependent on the so-called 'historical Jesus' is gradually giving place to a Christianity that is dependent upon no Jesus at all - a Christianity that is content to use the ethical and religious ideas contained in the Gospels without settling the question whether the person who is said to have enunciated these ideas ever really walked upon the earth." (p. 384).
"One thing at least is clear: even if the belief in the virgin birth is not necessary to every Christian, it is certainly necessary to Christianity. And it is necessary to the corporate witness of the Church." (p. 396).