Our apologies for a late announcement of this issue. A new issue for 2015 will be available soon, but we wanted to alert you to the topic for our last issue of 2014 and urge you to subscribe. At FrontLine, you will receive excellent Christian reading that you just won’t find anywhere else. The contents will appear below, a sample article will appear tomorrow.
Theme: The Miraculous Birth of Our Savior
The doctrine of the virgin birth of Christ—perhaps better stated as His virgin conception—was a flashpoint in the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy. James Orr, writing in The Fundamentals, explains the significance of this attack: “The attack is not confined, indeed, to the article of the Virgin birth. It affects the whole supernatural estimate of Christ—His life, His claims, His sinlessness, His miracles, His resurrection from the dead. But the Virgin birth is assailed with special vehemence, because it is supposed that the evidence for this miracle is more easily got rid of than the evidence for public facts, such as the resurrection” (“The Virgin Birth of Christ,” 2:247).
Modernists claimed the virgin conception could be discarded with little cost. The Holy Spirit could have ensured the sinlessness of Christ without a virgin conception, the Modernists said. The hypostatic union, the union of God and man in one Person, could have taken place without a virgin conception. Doubtless. But if God can work the miracles of the hypostatic union and the resurrection, then surely He can work the miracle of the virgin conception. But if the virgin conception is incredible, so also are the hypostatic union and the resurrection. For this reason Fundamentalists stoutly defended the virgin conception and must continue to do so in the face of continued challenges.
This issue of FrontLine magazine meets these continued challenges by looking first at the Scriptural passages that ground the doctrine of the virgin conception and then by examining the significance of this doctrine. The first article examines the foundational prophecy of the virgin conception: Isaiah 7:14. Though some claim that Isaiah is simply speaking of a young woman who will soon give birth, a sign that is typologically applied to Jesus’ virgin birth by Matthew, Randy Jaeggli demonstrates that, in fact, Isaiah was prophesying the virgin conception of Jesus seven hundred years before it happened.
We then turn to the New Testament. Mark Minnick draws our attention to six indications in Matthew 1 that Jesus was definitely conceived of a virgin. Mark Ward points us to six indications in Luke 1 that challenge some recent claims that the virginal conception is inconsistent with Jesus’ full humanity.
Joel Arnold continues the look at the theological implications of the virgin conception. He alerts us to possible dangers in our ideas about its significance, and he shows how the virgin conception fits into the Bible’s storyline. Tim Berrey walks us through common theological objections to the virgin conception. He traces these objections for ancient times all the way through the present and demonstrates that the fundamental challenge to accepting the virgin conception is the challenge of believing that God works such miracles. And yours truly rounds out this theological study by looking more broadly at why Jesus’ full humanity was absolutely necessary for Him to fulfill His roles as Prophet, Priest, and King.
Our hope is that this issue will strengthen your faith in the supernatural conception of our Lord and that you will come away with a greater appreciation for the incarnation from its very inception.
Key Interpretational Elements in Isaiah 7:14
Isaiah 7:14 gives us an astounding prediction, over seven hundred years in advance, of the miraculous birth of our Savior.
The Virgin Birth of Christ in Matthew 1
It is significant that Matthew 1:16 reads that Joseph was the husband of Mary “of whom was born Jesus.”
The Ardennes Counteroffensive and Luke’s Account of the Virgin Birth
Mark L. Ward Jr.
The price of doctrinal fidelity may be eternal vigilance, and a few unexploded rounds from the old fight are still lying around.
Why Is the Virgin Birth So Important?
Amazingly, the original mission God gave Adam and Eve would become the means of their deliverance.
Behind Objections to the Virgin Birth
The virgin birth of Christ is the second most disputed event in His life.
The Humanity of Christ
Why does Christ need to be fully man?
A Small-Town Chaplain
Wit & Wisdom
The Genius of Apostasy, Part Two
David C. Innes
At a Glance: The Kingdom of God
On Language & Scripture
Mark Lee Ward Jr.
John C. Vaughn
Mentoring Those We Love
We would like to thank Dr. Brian Collins for coordinating this issue of FrontLine magazine.