Why I am liberal, but not LIBERAL! [pt.5]

4. Stereotypical Liberal Assumption: Jesus was not born of a

This belief is a non-negotiable for many, perhaps even most Christians today. But that was not always the case. It is easy to take for granted the universal acknowledgement of the virgin conception by the early church, based on the story’s prevalence in modern church teaching. However, objectively supported by scripture alone, it’s somewhat surprising that the writers of Matthew and Luke were so unquestionably convinced of Jesus’ virgin conception, given that there is no other reference to it in all of the New Testament. Mark and John seem uninterested in this point in their gospel accounts, and Paul did not find it necessary in developing or supporting his own apologetics.

Moreover, the prominent differences and conflicts between the Matthean and Lukan genealogies create all sorts of problems that are not resolved in scripture. The complexity of these writers’ seemingly self-imposed predicament is even more puzzling as they each simultaneously attest to the Davidic Kingship of Jesus with little or no explanation as to how both could be true.

“Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph…” (Luke 3:23) So it was thought seems to have been good enough for both Matthew and Luke, but what about modern readers? Was Joseph able to adopt Jesus into the Davidic line? Why do both genealogies build through Joseph, as Jesus’ father? Was Mary’s virginity constructed to emphasize Jesus’ divinity? And why are the two genealogies so vastly different?

Click here to read an overview on research concerning the differing genealogies of Jesus in Matthew and Luke and how they may pertain to the question of the Virgin Conception.

For me, I have not rejected belief in the Virgin conception, but I do not believe it to be a non-negotiable for Christian faith.


AJ Swoboda said...


You are the man for bringing old school NT scholarship to your blog. Inspired I am. I linked you on my blog to. I'll keep poking my head in.


Peter said...

Sweet bro, thanks for the link! You're welcome ANY time - feel free to share a much fuller theological/academic perspective than my own - Mr. PhD!!

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