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Showing posts from December, 2016

On the Virgin Birth

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Recently, a popular evangelical preacher, Andy Stanley, dismissed the importance of the virgin birth by claiming that “Christianity doesn’t hinge on the truth or even the stories around the birth of Jesus.”
Stanley is the founder of North Point Ministries, a network of six churches in and around Atlanta, attended by 30,000 people each week. In a message he gave on December 3, he said:
A lot of people just don’t believe it [i.e., the virgin birth]. And I understand that, and maybe, you know, the thought is, hey, you know, they had to come up with some myth about the birth of Jesus to give him street cred, you know, later on. And maybe that’s where that came from.
He stops short of claiming this as his own view. But he goes on to say something which seems to indicate he believes the position has some plausibility:
It’s interesting because Matthew gives us a version of the birth of Christ; Luke does; but Mark and John, they don’t even mention it. And a lot has been made of that.
Regardless …

"Why lies he in such mean estate?"

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This line from the Christmas carol, What Child is This?, draws attention to the seeming incongruity of the Son of God being laid in a manger. Have you ever considered how the whole narrative of our Lord’s birth shows us that God delights to do great things by humble means? 
Think, for example, of this prophecy from the book of Micah, delivered some 700 years before the event:
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,            who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me            one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old,            from ancient days (Micah 5:2)
There are several important truths that can be gleaned from this prophecy, but one that is often overlooked is what it says about Bethlehem itself, namely that it was “too little to be among the clans of Judah” (v. 2a). Literally, it reads, “too little to be among the thousands of Judah.” The tribes of Israel were divided for military purposes into thousands, with a head or a c…