Denying the virgin birth? What's next, denying the resurrection?

Hello everyone. If you’ve read my posts you know that I am a lapsed Catholic who has been attending the Presbyterian church for the past few years. I’ve been feeling called back to Catholicism and am going about this slowly and studiously, listening to God’s call to my heart.

I was at my Presbyterian church the other day and I borrowed a book from the library called Presbyterian Questions, Presbyterian Answers – it’s basically a theology book, not very long. I figured since I plan to study up on Catholicism I can see what Reformed theology is all about too (even though I know what it is all about and cannot reconcile myself to Calvinism, but I am an analytical person by nature and wanted to give Catholic and Protestant views both a “fair” study).

The book is made up of several different groupings of theology thought, with questions and answers. In it, the author says that some Reformed Christians believe that Jesus was born of a virgin with no earthly biological father, while some don’t – and that it doesn’t/shouldn’t MATTER.

I was so shocked. To me, the virgin birth is a BIG part of Christianity. If you start to deny it, what’s next, denying that Jesus rose from the dead? And if you do that, what’s the point of being a Christian?

One of the big differences between Catholicism and non-Catholic Christian religions is that non-Catholic Christians don’t recognize Tradition. What is contained is Tradition is often the source of major conflict between the two.

Some Episcopal leaders have stated that the resurrection was “symbolic” and not literal. So it’s not such a terrible leap, unfortunately.

That is much more common in some groups in Protestantism. In the turn of the 20th century, Prebytarian delved into this kind of thinking. the backlash was the formulation of the “five fundamentals” of essential Christian beliefs included the virgin brith. I think that you stumbling on this is God way to saying to you come home!

What if you got your initial faith education in your early Christian community from reading or hearing the Gospel of Mark? What if you were in one of the communities that were formed and encouraged by Paul, and heard his letters read at your gatherings? How much would you read or hear about the Virgin Birth? Absolutely nothing. So were those communities not Christian? Many of the earliest Christians likely never even considered the idea of the Virgin Birth or perhaps heard the story but did not think it was critical to their faith.

You should also try to avoid the trap of jumping from one assumption to another, since there does not have to be any connection between the birth of Jesus and his death and resurrection. There wasn’t to Mark or Paul, and to them it was the latter that was critical to the meaning of it all, not the nativity stories.

Finally, if you were presenting Christianity to someone today, someone who had no past exposure to it, what would be the most important ideas you would want to communicate about God and Jesus? If we follow the lead of the first Apostles, per the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the letters of Paul, it would not be about the birth of Jesus, but about the life, teachings, death and resurrection of Jesus, and the meaning they have for our own life and salvation.

Wow, please scan a copy!

This is why sola scriptura is utter nonsense. The faith was transmitted by the Apostles to their disciples to Community, the texts of the Bible came later. While St. Paul’s letters were read in the Churches, they were read within the wider context, not in isolation from the Living Faith of the Apostles.

R.C. Sproll has a better book on the subject called “what is reformed theology”

Uh… this has nothing to do with Sola Scriptura. Scripture is pretty clear that Christ was born of a virgin.

This has to do with Reformed “theologians” shifting the focus from the Cross to themselves. It’s simple narcissism.

Not necessarily true.

General statements or claims about what protestants generally believe, are generally untrue, generally speaking.

Lutherans, and some others, simply require that Tradition be subject to scripture, not equal to it.


When they can quote the Bible and justify their position with allegorical or symbolic meanings behind the Scripture; and reject the Church’s Traditional understanding by stating their interpretations of the Scripture as having equal or more weight - it has very much to do with Sola Scriptura.

Not exactly, and certainly not from a Lutheran view. Sola scriptura is meant to hold doctrine accountable, and it is a practice of the Church, not individuals. So, on matters of doctrine, my opinions are irrelevant. On matters adiaphora, I am welcome to my opinion, and so is Steido.


There we go again bogged down in SS, and Lutherans
representing the Protestant view when we all know
it doesn’t actually.

And again if Jon you want to say Tradition must be
subordinate to Scripture you have to ask how that works
when Scripture was subordinate to oral Tradition.

We probably don’t represent the Protestant view, as in, the majority of Protestants in America, but what else are we going to represent on these forums but our own view? You don’t expect us to represent Pentecostals or Baptists.

And again if Jon you want to say Tradition must be
subordinate to Scripture you have to ask how that works
when Scripture was subordinate to oral Tradition.

If the oral tradition never became a part of the Scriptural record, then why should we accept that the oral tradition was ever a tradition to begin with? In other words, how do we know the tradition was taught by the apostles?

If that’s your view obviously you would have to deny truth of
Scripture wouldn’t you?
The origins of Scripture are not a chicken and egg
argument. We know oral came first.

I am not sure what your first question refers to.

I am not denying that the oral came first. Actually, a certain life, death and resurrection came first. Regardless, yes, we know the preaching and teaching of the apostles came first. I’m not sure how that relates to what I asked, though? My question was, if the apostles never recorded a particular tradition in writing, then how do you know they taught it?

Faith. Faith in God, faith in the Church He established
and most of all faith in the Paraclete He sent.
Here is what I know. God loves me and I am where He
put me. To be a Catholic was not MY decision- it was
His. And it is unbelievable to me that He would put me
where I would drown in false preaching and traditions.
He put me in the place in His wisdom that would be
best for me and all that is left to do is to love
what He has done.

And before you jump to the obvious objection yes
if I had been born into Islam or Judaism the answer
would be the same. To love being Muslim or to love
being a Jew. He knows where each one of is and
where we need to be.

What in the world does this have to do with the subject. The last time I looked the virgin birth was in scripture???

Fair enough. It’s not really something that can be examined, though. If someone challenges you on, say, the immaculate conception…you could say that you accept it on faith. Someone will probably demand apostolic evidence, though.

Well they can do that but not of me. Questions about
Mary’s Immaculate Conception are most appropriately
addressed to her or her Son or to God the Father.
That’s the point of a “living” faith, is it not?

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