Samuel Craig’s Review of Machen’s Virgin Birth of Christ

THE VIRGIN BIRTH OF CHRIST by J. Gresham Machen, DD., Litt. D., Professor of New Testament in Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Harper & Brothers, New York and London. 1930.
[Christianity Today 1.1 (May, 1930): 13.]

This volume sustains, and more than sustains, Dr. Machen’s reputation as not only one of the world’s foremost New Testament scholars but as one of the ablest defenders of historic Christianity. His former books, The Origin of Paul’s Religion (1921), Christianity and Liberalism (1923) and What is Faith? (1925), have so whetted the appetites of their thousands of readers that the announcement of a new book by Dr. Machen fills them with eager expectancy — whatever may be their theological position. It will be recalled that Mr. Walter Lippmann, whose theological position is about as far removed as possible from that of Dr. Machen’s, in his widely read book, A Preface to Morals, not only speaks of Dr. Machen as “both a scholar and a gentleman” but says of his book, Christianity and Liberalism:

“It is an admirable book. For its acumen, for its saliency, and for its wit, this cool and stringent defense of orthodox Protestantism is, I think, the best popular argument produced by either side in the current controversy. We shall do well to listen to Dr. Machen.”

Dr. Machen’s latest book, it is true, like The Origin of Paul’s Religion, moves throughout in the field of exact scholarship. It would be difficult to point to a book anywhere that is more thorough-going in its recital and examination of all that bears upon the subject with which it deals. But while this is the case, Dr. Machen writes so simply and lucidly that men and women of intelligence everywhere, whatever their standing as technical scholars, will be able to read it with understanding and profit. Certainly no minister or Bible teacher of adults can afford to ignore this book. To the reviewer at least it is a source of much satisfaction to know that what is confessedly the most exhaustive and most scholarly book on the problem of the Virgin Birth of Christ ever published, at least in English, has been written by a man who after having acquainted himself with everything of importance that has been written on the subject since the first century, no matter in what language, holds to the historic belief of the Christian Church that its founder was born without human father, being conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary.

It is impossible in the space at our disposal to do more than indicate the contents of this book — a book that is all but certain to remain the standard book on the subject for many years to come.

Dr. Machen begins by pointing out that whatever we may think of the virgin birth as a historic fact we cannot deny that the historic Christian Church has all but universally held to the belief that Christ was virgin born. Continue reading “Samuel Craig’s Review of Machen’s Virgin Birth of Christ”