While I never have claimed to be a theologian, I read Al Mohler’s scholarly article on this topic and he summarizes and illustrates the issue:
Can a true Christian deny the virgin birth? The answer to that question must be a decisive No. Those who deny the virgin birth reject the authority of Scripture, deny the supernatural birth of the Savior, undermine the very foundations of the Gospel, and have no way of explaining the deity of Christ.
Anyone who claims that the virgin birth can be discarded even as the deity of Christ is affirmed is either intellectually dishonest or theological incompetent.
Several years ago, Cecil Sherman–then a Southern Baptist, but later the first coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship–stated: “A teacher who might also be led by the Scripture not to believe in the Virgin Birth should not be fired.” Consider the logic of that statement. A Christian can be led by the Bible to deny what the Bible teaches? This kind of logic is what has allowed those who deny the virgin birth to sit comfortably in liberal theological seminaries and to preach their reductionistic Christ from major pulpits.
Christians must face the fact that a denial of the virgin birth is a denial of Jesus as the Christ. The Savior who died for our sins was none other than the baby who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin. The virgin birth does not stand alone as a biblical doctrine, it is an irreducible part of the biblical revelation about the person and work of Jesus Christ. With it, the Gospel stands or falls.
I have to admit that I find his teaching to be intriguing and thought provoking, if not downright logical. But for me, the discussion must also include the doctrine of salvation itself. Just what is salvation and what is it that makes one a Christian; a follower of Jesus or a disciple of Christ?
- Is a true Christian one who believes a defined set of propositional statements about Jesus?
- Is it that one knows and understands the Four Spiritual Laws?
- How much of the Bible must one know and understand and believe to be saved?
If we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), if we answer the call to “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:19), if we confess that Jesus is Lord, and believe that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9-10) and we call upon the name of the Lord (Romans 10:13), where is the command to believe in the virginal conception of Jesus? Back to Al Mohler’s point, it is not about belief in the virgin birth, but the active denial of it.
I believe that we can be saved without the knowledge of the virgin birth, but once we learn about it, how could a true believer not accept this detail that explains the divinity of Jesus? How can someone read the Bible, claim to believe in its truth and accuracy, and at the same time deny the passages that talk about the virgin birth? Is it the same as John’s instruction about those who deny that Christ came in the flesh (2 John 1:7, 1 John 4:3)? What do you think?