Andy Stanley, founder of North Point Ministries, a network of six congregations across the Atlanta metropolitan area attended by 30,000 worshipers a week, said in a message Dec. 3 that one of the challenging things about Christmas is the “unbelievable” nature of stories in the Bible describing Jesus’ miraculous conception.
“A lot of people don’t believe it, and I understand that,” Stanley said. “Maybe the thought is they had to come up with some kind of myth about the birth of Jesus to give him street cred later on. Maybe that’s where that came from.”
There are three parts of this debate.
The first is Stanley’s follow-up statement:
“If somebody can predict their own death and their own resurrection, I’m not all that concerned about how they got into the world, because the whole resurrection thing is so amazing,” he said.
It never occurs to Stanley that someone who rises from the dead had the same power leading up to that event, including but not limited to being born of a virgin, and the power to do miracles that Stanley’s fellow Baptists have fought to deprive the church of after the death of the apostles.
Second, we live in a day where alternative methods of procreation other than male-female union, including but not limited to cloning, are being discussed as within our reach. That being the case, how people struggle with the “scientific” problem is beyond me.
Third, Stanley is playing into the modern and post-modern mentality that nothing happens without sex. That, I think, is the biggest stumbling block to the Virgin Birth on a practical level.
The Greco-Roman world, however, had a pretty wide-open society when it came to sexual morality, including the adventures of their gods and goddesses. The Virgin Birth, where something really important took place without sex, broke into that world. That among other things put the Christian sexual ethic at odds with society in general, something we are experiencing today.
Although it’s counter-intuitive now, that was part of the appeal Christianity had. That might still be the case were it not for popularity seekers like Stanley, whose appeal in the Evangelical world is likewise beyond me.
Today many are saying that Evangelicalism is losing its appeal, and that it’s harder to get people to admit to the label. It’s getting hard for me to admit to it too, but that’s because of bottom feeders like Stanley who do not understand that while grace is free, living for Jesus is costly.