Going along with secular theories that deny Jesus was born of a virgin is to deny Christ’s divinity and impeccability, an evangelical pastor has warned.
Stephen Kneale, pastor of Oldham Bethel Church in the U.K., said Monday on his website that much of secular society treats the concept of Mary being a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus as "unscientific nonsense."
He said that on one hand, since the Hebrew word translated as ‘virgin’ can mean ‘young woman,’ some believers also justify abandoning that belief while still maintaining "the main shape of the Christmas narrative."
Kneale, who says that he subscribes to the traditional tenets of evangelicalism, warned that there are several concerns with taking such an approach.
For instance, it denies the miraculous work of God, and the accounts of Joseph, Mary's husband, as recorded by Matthew in the Bible, he said.
What is more, the pastor argued that the denial also goes against claims of Christ's divinity.
"If there was no virgin birth, Jesus was born in a usual way that every other man is born. But this has the knock-on effect of limiting Jesus to nothing more than a mere human," he continued.
He said that it means Christ would not have been able to pay the "infinite punishment for sin."
Kneale also argued that if Jesus was born like everyone else, it denies His impeccability, as He would have inherited the same sinful nature as all the children of Adam.
"As such, He would have sinned like any other man. As a result He could offer no perfect sacrifice on behalf of His people. There would be no perfect life to impute to anyone else because He would not have been capable of living the perfect life that God demands,” he added.
What is more, the pastor insisted that denying the virgin birth means "denying a savior who can save."
"If Jesus is neither God nor impeccable, then there is no salvation from sin. The one presented as the only means of atonement is simply incapable of providing it. We lose scripture as a faithful record of God’s revelation to man and we lose a Savior who has even the remotest capability of saving anybody,” he wrote.
On Christmas Day, the Pew Research Center retweeted a study from December 2017 which found that fewer Americans believe the birth of Jesus occurred as depicted in the Bible.
The survey found that 66 percent of respondents say that He was born to a virgin, which was down from the 73 percent share when the same question was asked in 2014.
Theologians have long warned about the importance of maintaining faith in the virgin birth, however.
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, wrote in an op-ed in The Christian Post in 2004 that a person cannot reject the virgin birth and call themselves a Christian.
"Even if the virgin birth was taught by only one biblical passage, that would be sufficient to obligate all Christians to the belief. We have no right to weigh the relative truthfulness of biblical teachings by their repetition in Scripture," Mohler positioned back then.
"We cannot claim to believe that the Bible is the Word of God and then turn around and cast suspicion on its teaching."