Among the issues raised by the unfortunate and continuing controversy over the Virgin Birth, the implied dismissal of the biblical testimony naturally claims much of our attention. It is right that this should be so. For, while the biblical evidence is small, and attempts have been made to weaken it by emendation, variant readings, and literary dissection, even a theologian of Karl Barth’s stature tells us that “no one can dispute the existence of a biblical testimony to the Virgin Birth” (Church Dogmatics, I, 2, p. 176). Thus, denial of the miracle entails direct and conscious rejection of the authority of Scripture and the apostolic teaching which it embodies. And the seriousness of such rejection is incontestable and incalculable.
Yet while this is true, there are also important theological implications which may be missed even by those who contend for the Virgin Birth on biblical grounds. A main argument used against it is in fact its supposed insignificance and even irrelevance. Many theologians, like Schleiermacher, have thought that they could accept a supernatural work of God without the Virgin Birth. Many others have tended to agree with Brunner that it is an unnecessary and inquisitive biological intrusion. Many would argue that they can confess the true deity and incarnation of Christ without it. Evangelicals often leave the impression that it is a kind of embarrassment which they are prepared to accept because it is in Scripture but which they do not find to be particularly significant or meaningful.
Now if this is indeed the case, it might be asked why the issue has been given such prominence in recent discussion. To be sure, any denial of the biblical record is a serious matter. But why should ...1
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